We all know that creativity is a key ingredient for success in the world of entrepreneurship, but do we really know what that means? To be a creative entrepreneur, you need to have a unique perspective and approach that sets you apart from your competitors. This post is about how creativity can help entrepreneurs succeed, and a deep dive into what are the benefits of creativity to entrepreneurship.
Think Quickly and Creatively
The very first thing I appreciate about creativity and developing creative thinking in entrepreneurship is the speed with which help you implement.
The ability to come up with creative ideas on demand is an important trait in product development, sales, and customer service.
Working at the speed of business means being able to make creative connections and ideate creative solutions quickly. Good entrepreneurs are constantly on the lookout for new ways, and new techniques. They often have an excellent imagination.
Creativity also comes in handy when entrepreneurs need to make an important decision or act on a new idea. Unexpected obstacles, such as potential legal liabilities, must be addressed head-on. When entrepreneurs want to overcome these obstacles, creativity can play a very important role in success.
Of course, you can approach solutions methodically, but this approach if used exclusively can be too time-consuming, especially for big problems. Creativity allows you to achieve rapid results. It gives you the confidence to think outside the box and find an innovative idea. When time is short and deadlines are long, creativity can be a lifesaver.
Related: Simple Ideas for Creativity
Risk-Taking and Creative Thinking
There’s a wonderful saying in Russia, “If you don’t take risks, you don’t drink champagne.“
Risk is part of any form of entrepreneurship, and those who shy away from taking risks deny themselves the opportunity to experience the elation of success – and the important learning process of failure.
At the core of entrepreneurial creativity and creative thinking is the willingness to take risks and the willingness to learn from mistakes. Otherwise, nothing new will ever be created.
Perhaps the most famous example is Thomas Edison, who went through thousands of small experiments when inventing the light bulb.
As Edison himself said, “I didn’t fail. I just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.” An entrepreneurial mindset and creative design thinking par excellence.
The fear of taking risks and making mistakes can sometimes nip our interesting ideas in the bud. But if we can push our fears aside, a whole new world of possibilities opens up to us.
Put Yourself in the Mind of Others
Although much of entrepreneurship can and must be driven by hard data, there may be times when judgment must be made subjectively.
When the stakes are high, intuition is essential. If only to run scenarios – for example, using AI persona apps to develop “avatars” for businesses.
We’ve all turned things over in our heads at some point, even if we haven’t called it a “creative process.” Including thinking about why people behave the way they do and why they make the decisions they do. These are the basis for the kind of marketing and business development that most entrepreneurs have to use.
Without a deep understanding of this, acquired over time, entrepreneurs are doomed to fail.
Related: Why Creative Process Matters
Helps You Have Fun
Let’s face it – entrepreneurial activity is hard. Whether you’re working alone or as part of a team.
An important part of motivation and success is having fun. Creativity and creative processes often involve some form of play. Whether you’re doodling, throwing pictures on a screen, concocting crazy solutions (one of which might even be the best!), or making music. On the latter point, Einstein used to play the violin, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle also had his iconic detective hero Sherlock Holmes play the instrument regularly!
To be better at business, the mind needs to take breaks. Not just coffee breaks or workout sessions. But imaginative, playful, restful, and stimulating breaks.
That’s why it pays to think about creative activities you enjoy and make time for them – no matter how busy you’re or how you see yourself! That way, you have much more chance of coming up with a useful original idea.
Harness the Power of the Subconscious Mind
Creative connections in the mind often play out on a subconscious level.
These mental associations lead to all sorts of productive outcomes, from brainstorming for a project to inspiration for a business.
One way to use the subconscious mind is to daydream. When you daydream, you’re not actively thinking, but letting your subconscious mind wander. If you’re worried about a problem, you can let your mind wander, and the solution often comes to you in a very unexpected way. Daydreaming and power napping is a creative use of time.
Acquiring knowledge is critical for an entrepreneur. As you get better at understanding your business model and the various processes that go into it, new insights and experiences can surface that allow you to develop even more effective ideas and strategies.
A creative approach and mindset to new concepts and information will in many cases allow you to explore new approaches and ways of thinking that can lead to new insights and an innovative solution.
Encourage Your Team Members and Collaborators
Where would you personally prefer to work? In an uncreative and boring environment or one where you’re encouraged to think creatively and constructively?
I’d choose a more creative work environment any day of the week.
Employees and teammates who’re encouraged to think and act creatively can thrive in a corporate environment. It’s about exercising creative leadership to foster creativity and organizational behavior that enables your company to beat the competition.
It’s not about letting a few hotheads have their way because they’re more creative than others – it’s about encouraging everyone to see themselves as creative and useful – even innovative – to your company.
If you balance that innovative force with an understanding of how to limit risk, you’ll be successful.
Creativity Helps Entrepreneurs Identify Opportunities
It almost goes without saying that identifying opportunities is at the heart of any entrepreneur’s success, and in most cases, without an innovative or creative approach, opportunities will be missed.
If you think of your business as a creative endeavor, spotting opportunities will be less scary because there will be more room for creativity and fun in your work. That, in turn, means you’ll have greater potential to turn a unique idea into new things that add value.
Helps You Have a Lot of Ideas
When you feel free to think quickly and freely, your creative juices will flow, and you’ll be able to come up with lots of simple and complex ideas this way.
Divergent thinking – finding multiple possible solutions to a given problem – and lateral thinking are hallmarks of a creative mind, and the more you can develop these thought processes, the greater your ability to come up with original ideas.
Time to flex those creative muscles and become the creative thinker you were meant to be!
The trick is to have a system in place that allows you to capture and revisit these insights and ideas, creating a constant stream of ideas with a meaningful purpose.
These days, I use TheBrain as my primary idea generation and capture system, after using Roam Research for a year or more. What I like about the latest version of TheBrain is that it combines a good Markdown note-taking system with a very visual and content-relevant mind map of all possible ideas, concepts, processes, etc. It also syncs reliably with the cloud and with my devices, which is very important.
Explore Unexplored Ideas and Options
Of course, if you’re curious and willing to take risks, the next step is to explore unexplored ideas and options.
For example, you might come across a new technique to do something more efficiently, or improve a product or service by expanding its features.
You Associate With People Who Are NOT Like You
As an entrepreneur, it’s very important not to be trapped in echo chambers that channel you to think, act, and even speak like everyone else.
The echo chambers that exist in the business world today are often created by people who do the same things you do and don’t dare to step outside of themselves and look for people who think differently and may be more competitive. This causes you to feel like you’re trapped in a bubble and your chances of coming up with new ideas go down.
There are many innovative products, processes, and even business models that don’t even show up on the radar of larger companies because they’re often driven simply by being different.
When you get creative, you have a much better chance of coming up with innovative ideas and meeting people who have very different opinions and perspectives on things that are important to running your business.
If you’re not afraid to be different, you’ll not only learn new ways of thinking, but you’ll also attract people who’re brilliant and willing to share those insights with you.
As the famous Apple ad puts it, Think Different.
Creativity Will Help Your Communication
There are many places and ways in which an entrepreneur needs to communicate.
Press releases, webinars, sales pages, team meetings – the list goes on and on. But few will argue that the most important tool in an entrepreneur’s arsenal is their creative presentation. Many people find writing, speaking and even visual presentation easy, but coming up with new ideas for communication can be difficult.
However, effective communication is extremely important to any form of business success, especially in entrepreneurship. Whether you’re courting investors, promoting your brand, or negotiating with a client, you need to be able to convey your ideas in a way that keeps your audience engaged.
This is where creativity and creative storytelling can help tremendously in communicating effectively with stakeholders and your audience. Creative writing is a powerful tool you can use to captivate your audience and highlight important ideas or products. A good story not only creates excitement and movement, but it can also help you get to the heart of the key ideas you want to get across, even if you didn’t manage to do so initially.
In addition to stories, visuals are also important for effective communication. You can use photos and videos to explain more processes or demonstrate products, and you can also use images and colors to highlight important ideas and emotions.
Again, creativity helps you get your message across!
Creativity Leads to Innovation
Entrepreneurship is all about innovation – finding unique and useful solutions to problems people face. Creativity can help you find something that others may not even know they need and turn it into a new product or service.
Creativity in business is about identifying successful entrepreneurial ideas and developing and marketing them in a way that makes them credible and current.
Market trends change so quickly that it’s important to identify those that could catch on and work to develop products and services that appeal to customers at different stages of their buying cycle.
Future-Proof Yourself in the World of AI
Artificial intelligence has already arrived in the business world. Including in the small business world.
All areas of business will increasingly rely on AI to process different types of data, make suggestions, and even make human-level decisions. Areas that have relied on human intelligence to find solutions are being handed over to machine learning algorithms.
What’ll define humans in this brave new world won’t be human intelligence – but creativity. And I would add wisdom and insight.
To survive and thrive in the near future of AI, you must understand the potential of AI relevant to your business, recognize its potential, and creatively apply it to your area of operation.
Only by approaching this task with curiosity and a spirit of innovation can you stand out from the competition and gain a competitive advantage.
Explore the Edges of Things
I recently made a feature documentary film about how scientists in the U.S. and Russia gained access to top-secret intelligence collection systems and datasets in the 1990s and beyond to use for planetary and climate change research.
The scientists who were given access to the highest level of security came from all sorts of disciplines – atmospheric physics, oceanography, geophysics, ecology, and more. I remember one of them telling me that the most important breakthroughs were made when scientists from different disciplines, who rarely meet at conferences, worked together in close proximity.
For entrepreneurs, this means that a creative approach to bringing people and ideas together yields benefits. I’ve applied this lesson in my own company, Brilliantio.
As an Entrepreneurial Business Owner, You’re Creative. By Definition.
If you’re entrepreneurial in any way, you can be sure you’re creative.
Creative thinking and critical thinking are the entrepreneurial skills that I value most, and ones that should be in every entrepreneurship education.
You’ve to keep in mind that you’re probably entering a market where demand is high and competition is fierce. What this means for you is that you can be a successful entrepreneur if you push yourself to be more creative than you’d otherwise be.